By Sophia Cheng
All the world is a stage, and Pinewood students are the perfomers. This fall, the Pinewood performing arts department is set to present William Shakespeare’s romantic comedy, “As You Like It,” at 7 p.m., Oct. 24-26, at the Upper Campus theater.
Drama teacher Katie Linza is a huge believer in the magic that performing Shakespeare brings.
“As an actor, performing Shakespeare onstage can be one of the most fulfilling and inspiring experiences, and I really wanted our actors to experience the magic … of digging into Shakespeare’s language and imagery. ‘As You Like It’ is certainly a … funny comedy, full of witty banter and clashes of ideology, but it also explores some really profound ideas about love and identity,” Linza said.
The play details the story of a young woman, Rosalind, who is exiled from a kingdom along with her father. She ventures with her cousin and the jester of the kingdom into the Forest of Arden, where she meets a son of royalty named Orlando. They fall in love, but she is disguised as a boy, so he does not realize that Rosalind is simultaneously his love and the person that he is telling everything to. Rosalind has to find a way to end up with Orlando while solving the problems of Arden and restoring the kingdom.
Theatre teacher Doug Eivers is excited but a little bit hesitant about the endeavor, he noted.
“This will be only our second adventure into some Shakespeare in recent history on the Pinewood stage, previously producing ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ a few years back,” Eivers said. “Part of the difficulty of producing Shakespeare is that both actors and audience members alike are intimidated by it.”
Junior Vivian Reed, who plays Rosalind, has been challenged by this role as the plot lines are hard to follow, and getting into her character has been tough.
“A difficulty that I faced while practicing was trying to accurately portray my character, Rosalind, in all the different conflicting emotions she has … For instance, at one point in the play, she is feeling scared of being killed [while also] feeling the joy of being in love. Trying to feel both of those emotions was a little tricky, but the more that I practiced and tried to empathize with my character, it became easier to deliver those lines and that scene as a whole,” Reed said.
Sophomore Andreas Kamangar has also faced obstacles, taking on the arduous task of memorizing his Shakespearean lines.
“I had to read [my lines] a lot of times and get used to how the words are formed and what types of different words are used,” Kamangar said.
Although the entire process may seem exhausting, there is a strong support system locked into place, actors said.
“Before opening night, we always have a little toast of apple cider and the director says a few words about the play—it just all helps us get excited. Also, before each play begins, we do a tradition called ‘Energy Circle,’ which is basically where we scream for a couple of seconds and all come together as a cast,” senior Carter Brady, a seasoned PPA cast member, said.